Two Montezuma County inmates who were kicked out of a community corrections facility in Montrose now face felony charges in Colorado’s 7th Judicial District Court.
Christopher Gonzales, 22, and Jacob Kotarski, 22, were regressed from the residential corrections facility in Montrose based on allegations that they engaged in credit card fraud. An independent investigation from a defense attorney’s office found several inmates at the facility were victimized by one bad actor who used stolen credit cards to gain favor among other inmates in Montrose.
Assistant District Attorney Matthew Margeson said Thursday that the investigation has convinced him there is some substance to the claim that Gonzales and Kotarski were wrongly regressed. He said one inmate purchased pizza with a stolen credit card and told other inmates they could pay him back later.
In 22nd Judicial District Court in Cortez, Gonzales was resentenced Thursday to 18 months with the Colorado Department of Corrections, and Kotarski was resentenced earlier this month to a new screening at several community correction facilities.
According to Sherry McKenzie, spokeswoman for the Office of the District Attorney in Colorado’s 7th Judicial District, the DA in Montrose charged Gonzales and Kotarski on Feb. 12 with one count of ID theft, a Class 4 felony.
At Kotarski’s resentencing hearing on Feb. 11, Margeson said he believed charges had not yet been filed in Montrose because “it’s not a good case.” Charges were filed the next day.
Margeson said Thursday it is unlikely that any community corrections facility will accept Kotarski with new charges pending.
With that in mind, Gonzales on Thursday told 22nd Judicial District Chief Judge Douglas Walker that he is “ready to move on” and does not wish to proceed with a new community corrections screening.
Margeson asked for an 18-month sentence to DOC. Walker then sentenced Gonzales, granting credit for time served. Gonzales has been in jail for at least 240 days, or about eight months, so it’s possible he could serve less than a year in prison.
Gonzales pleaded guilty in September 2018 to first-degree trespass of a dwelling, a Class 5 felony, in connection to a scheme involving five other people who repeatedly trespassed and burglarized a residential property east of Cortez over at least two weeks in June.
In a separate robbery case, Gonzales pleaded guilty in September 2018 to menacing, a Class 5 felony, and false imprisonment, a Class 2 misdemeanor.
Both Gonzales and Kotarski are scheduled to appear in court Montrose on March 28.